The Kingston community will celebrate the return of the
historic Kingston Flyer at the end of this month, with the
inaugural Kingston Flyer Weekend.
The weekend, to be held on March 31 and April 1, will be
particularly poignant for the community of about 200, because
it almost lost the train for good in 2009 when former
operator Kingston Acquisitions Ltd went into receivership
owing Prudential $4.7 million.
New owner David Bryce (53), who is originally from Riverton
but moved to Lumsden in 1968, bought the train in August last
Kingston Community Association chairwoman Annette Dalziel
said the community was "absolutely thrilled" the train would
continue to underpin the "tiny tourism industry" and would
continue to be seen "puffing its way between Kingston and
Fairlight ... as it has done for more than 130 years".
"This old steam train is a vital and integral part of our
community and we are very keen to support the new owners in
keeping it going."
Mr Bryce suffered a stroke in March last year.
"That changed my life completely. It gave me perspective," he
"I had to struggle to rehabilitate myself physically and
mentally and did so by setting small goals.
"When I saw the Kingston Flyer for sale on Trade Me, I made
it my goal to secure ownership of the train and build the
business for the community.
"So that's what I'm doing."
Now a wine grower in Marlborough, Mr Bryce said he had bought
the train without seeing it, which had been a shock for his
family, but they now supported the purchase.
His first goal was to make sure everyone knew about the train
and had the opportunity to "fall in love with it".
"When I'm on that train or at the station I love seeing the
joy on people's faces.
"It's not only the kids; people of all ages just love it.
"When I was on the locomotive for the first time it was very
emotional and people kept coming up to me and patting me on
the back and thanking me.
"It's still emotional for me now. Kingston has an amazing
energy about it and I want people to come spend time here and
experience this amazing train. It's part of New Zealand's
Mr Bryce credited the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand for
its support and as a thank-you would give $5 from every
ticket sold during the Kingston Flyer Weekend to the
"The foundation was the catalyst for me to get everything I
needed at the time.
"It is a fantastic support for stroke sufferers and survives
on some government funding but predominantly donations. It is
an integral part of the support structure for people who've
suffered strokes and I should do anything I can to help and
The Kingston Flyer Weekend will take place every year on the
last weekend in March.
This year three trips on each day would depart Kingston for
Fairlight at the special Kingston Flyer Weekend rate of $20
per adult, $10 per child and children under 5 free.
"This is a family affair. It will be enormous fun for all
ages and stages and we have priced this journey to make it
affordable for as many people as we can put aboard."
Mr Bryce said it would be a community event, so invited other
groups to get involved.
Individuals were also welcome to create a "carnival
atmosphere" by hosting a stall and selling their wares.